Bill Brown writes that we tend to use objects as windows which we look through in order to glean information about history or culture, meaning that we only glimpse things instead of actually seeing things. Heidegger addresses our inability to see a thing for a thing, as more than a jug qua jug, when he writes, “We shall not reach the thing in itself until our thinking has first reached the thing as a thing.” A shift in thinking about objects as “what stands forth” instead of “that which stands before, over against, opposite us” is similar to the shift that Brown sees in the difference between seeing the window as an object and seeing the thingness of the window. For Heidegger, we must move away from the scientific stance in which “The thingness of the thing remains concealed, forgotten” because we have failed to give thought to what a thing can do, does, and how it does it. In asking these questions, I wonder if Heidegger almost arrives at a Latourian actor network theory “solution.” The thingness in the jug rests in its ability to “gift” its contents, implying that the jug can only be understood as an assemblage of the person pouring its contents out, its liquid contents, the jug’s container qualities, and the void pushing out the walls of the container. Is Heidegger’s “gathering” another way of looking at an assemblage? Is “presencing” a mere recognition of its place in a wider network of things/actants/people?


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